May 10, 2008

Some Snippets

Just a few observations.

While quite a few (an understatement) people drive their personal vehicles in New York, most Manhattanites don’t even own cars because a) N.Y.C. has an excellent public transportation system, arguably the best in the country, b) a guaranteed parking place costs thousands of dollars a year and there are often long waiting lists for same and c) who wants to spend half ones time in traffic gridlock, anyway?

To make up for the usual car owner’s status pecking order, there are…Baby strollers.

A $70.00 Combi might replace a Saturn, while a $900.00 Bugaboo might be another woman’s (and baby’s) Mercedes. A lot is based upon design, storage space (yes, a house wife or her husband might need to pick up a few things, maybe some groceries or whatever, and take baby along for the “ride”, so places to stash the purchases aboard the toddler’s personal vehicle are a plus, as opposed to having to carry a grocery bag and control the stroller at the same time).

I can just imagne the conversations that take place:

Barb: Oh, did you see the new Stokke Xplory Marilyn just bought for little Davey? Eleven hundred dollars!

Harriet: Yes, it’s a dream! And right after Connie picked up that $900.00 Orbit Baby Travel System. Just in time for spring, too.

Barb: I hear Fred’s out of work, and it shows. Mabel’s been pushing Deanna around in that same old $400.00 McLaren she bought two years ago.

Harriet: Oh, that’s so dreadful! How embarrassing that must be for poor Mabel!


From a recent column by Mona Charen,

Administrators at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis had seemed to be vying for the title of most ludicrous educators in America. The story began when a student, Keith John Sampson, who worked in the university’s janitorial department, was seen reading the book “Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan” in the break room. Sampson was notified by the university’s Affirmative Action Office that he had committed the offense of “racial harassment.” He protested that the book lauded the Notre Dame students who had taken on the Klan in 1924. Never mind, said Lillian Charleston, the AAO director. By “openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject,” he had violated university policy.

The university has since reversed itself and expressed “regret that this situation took place.” But consider the fascist environment the PC police have created. That the student felt constrained to defend the book’s content as politically acceptable is an outrage in itself that goes to the heart of academic freedom. Welcome to an America where you must glance over your shoulder to wonder whether your co-workers will inform on you for reading forbidden matter!

Read the entire column here.


Go to Chinatown. Ask for Cane. He can help.

He sure couldn’t have helped one hapless little Italian fashion photographer and the model with whom he was doing a shoot yesterday, in the late afternoon rain at the intersection of Chinatown’s Grand and Christie Streets.

I was passing by on my way to the B and D trains’ subway station over there and had to stop and watch.

The model, a tall, thin (aren’t they all!), attractive woman with a familiar face (I’ve seen her picture someplace before, but not being one to care one way or another about such celebrities, I haven’t the faintest idea who she was), was wearing a slinky, silver silk dress and holding up a grey fur coat. The photographer wanted her to walk towards him across the street, but only while there was a walk sign so she could be moving along with the pedestrian flow.

Obviously, he didn’t know Chinatown.

Chinatown here in N.Y. is a densely crowded, fast moving, busy place whose denizens have no brief but for their own day-to-day activities, and no one paid the slightest attention to the model. Everytime the walk sign appeared, she began crossing the street and was immediately engulfed in throngs of other pedestrians headed the same and opposite ways, jostling her, cutting in front of her and generally making it impossible for the photographer to get the shots he wanted.

But he was determined and they kept trying over and over, to no avail.

Seeing the amused grin on my face and having himself picked up on what was going on, a young Chinese man smirked at me and said, “This guy doesn’t seem to know he’s in Chinatown.”

Finally, I shook my head and continued on to the subway station, wondering how many dozen additional attempts it would take before the photographer finally gave up and relocated to Broadway or someplace…